by Jerry Ratch

A young woman in shorts

removes her sunglasses,

putting them on top of her head

in order to study the little girl

sitting on her father's lap

on the bus.


“I want to get me one of those,”

she says, with her dark eyes

smiling. Dark hair wet and hanging,

fresh from a swim

somewhere on the West Side,

while the bus keeps heading uptown,

past a man sleeping on a

stack of tires in Hell's Kitchen.


She has dreams about you

sitting with her on warm nights

in the little park across

from the Magnolia Bakery,

with a long line out front,

eating banana/vanilla-wafer pudding.


One of her favorite things, that and

kissing you in her dreams.

How much you love it when she

says that! Or if she asks:

When are you going to

write me a love poem?


Maybe her eyes are crossed

when you make love.

Maybe they are focused

on the inside

of the universe.

Maybe she has a dream where

she's eating a fat purple fig

that's as big as a watermelon,

holding it in both hands, and

putting her whole face into it.

When she comes up for air, saying

it means: Abundance.   


And suddenly a man bows his head

and crosses his chest

before crossing the street,

and the rain keeps falling

on his bare blue shirt,

and the taxis will not stop.


While a woman sitting

inside a café arches her back

and thrusts out her chest

for all the men to see,

and she places her palms

at both sides, underneath,

for she is pleased with them.

And the men admire

the abundance God has



Then the illuminated hands

say to go forth,

and the light says: WALK,

and the taxis wait for all to pass.

And everything begins moving

forward again, from this world

into the next.